Mian Raza Rabbani, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, met with Mr. Akbar Khan, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) on 29 August 2016 in London. During the meeting, the two sides held detailed discussion on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.
The Secretary General apprised the Chairman of the upcoming projects and activities of the CPA, including the next Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC). He said that the CPA has invited member countries to host the Conference, however, the venue has not yet been finalized. The Secretary General emphasized on hosting the Conference outside the UK, but added that as a last resort the Conference might be held in London. He also informed the Chairman that CPA was considering to make the Conference a biennium feature, with regions rather than individual branches hosting it.The Chairman expressed satisfaction on the existing level of cooperation between the CPA Headquarters and the Parliament of Pakistan. He said that the visit of the Secretary General in May 2016 was instrumental in further cementing these relations. The Chairman added that the Road Show and the CPA Staff Development Workshop also created goodwill about the CPA in Pakistan.
Briefing the Secretary General on the various activities of the Pakistan branch of the CPA, the Chairman gave a detailed overview of different youth engagement programmes including parliamentary internships, Clerks of Parliament initiative and parliamentary study tours. The Secretary General appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and offered CPA’s support in introducing Commonwealth focused parliamentary programmes for youth. He also apprised the Chairman of CPA’s new parliamentary accredited courses as well as the remote Masters classes, which would be launched in 2017.
The issue of hosting the seminar on ‘Hot Topic’ in Pakistan also came under discussion. The Chairman said that Pakistan has proposed to hold the seminar from 23-26 November 2016, however, final confirmation has not yet been received from CPA Asia Regional Secretary. He also suggested
inviting other CPA regions besides Asia, such as Canada and Caribbean, to make the seminar more effective and interactive.
The Secretary General welcomed Chairman’s proposals and offered his good offices to assist in early finalization of the seminar. He also underscored the importance of holding regional conferences and seminars regularly to make CPA more effective and interconnected.
The two sides expressed desire to forge even stronger relations between the CPA Headquarters and the Pakistan branch of CPA to benefit from each other’s expertise.
The meeting was followed by a lunch, which was also attended by Ms Shirley Osborne, Speaker of the House, Montserrat and Mr. Nabil Goheer, Director Strategic Planning and Evaluation Division, Commonwealth Secretariat.